Income inequality is rapidly becoming one of the most discussed and divisive issues in our society, and around the world. Academic research has been grinding out the inescapable conclusion that our society is among the most economically unequal in world history, and the differences between industrialized countries (an antiquated term that should be replaced by a term something like “financialized economies”) and third world countries is growing even more unjust every year. This has spurred a renewed critique of capitalism. I suppose the problem really lies in the human character: greed ultimately trumps altruism. Maybe that inevitable biological imperative to survive and reproduce our genes is a gravity too strong to transcend.
Let’s hope that some solution is found because the level of economic injustice has become pervasive and dangerous. The Congress and Supreme Court have transformed into an essential protection racket for the ultra-rich and the flood of capital to the richest 1% is draining the American middle-class. The situation is even worse in Third World countries where entire societies are so impoverished that survival is a day to day struggle. Even the Pope has been outspoken about the “evil” of unrestrained capitalism. Speaking from the vast warehouse of riches stolen from colonial conquests at the Vatican, the singular voice of Pope Francis seems dissonant, yet poignant at the same time.
Whether through spiritual transformation or economic and political revolution, something has to change because the real casualty of our current economy is hope – the hope that with enough effort one can improve their economic standing. That is a hope rapidly fading for most Americans.